Putting them together like this and photographing them well really elevates them.
(sorry, couldn't help it)
But yes, I recall that very same brick - I had a bunch of them, always thought we needed more variety.
There were also button panels on flat 2x1s. This article seems to have forgotten those.
This article also reminded me to "zoom out" on a design. If it's super confusing at that level, it probably still needs work. The ventilator example suffers from this a bit. It is really nice to have the instructions inline with the dials, but the visual design makes it look more complicated. If you imagined the LEGO-version, it would have more symmetrical color blocks and alignment. I don't mean to pick on them too harshly, sounds like it was made and distributed in record time!
Disappointingly, the picture is just a bank of water meters for an apartment building (possibly in Israel?). It does convey the message though: they are unrelated because each relates to a separate apartment but are all in one place so a inspector can read them from outside the building.
This was essentially use-case organization, because the use case was, "in case of a leak upstream of your in-apartment valve, go to the basement, find the valve that controls the line you're attached to, shut it off, and go inform other people on the same line what's going on".
To shed light on; illuminate.
v. ir·ra·di·at·ed, ir·ra·di·at·ing, ir·ra·di·ates
To expose to radiation. To treat with radiation: irradiate farm produce so as to destroy bacteria.
To manifest in a manner suggesting the emission of light; radiate: irradiate goodness.
v. intr. Archaic
To send forth rays; radiate.
To become radiant.
[Latin irradiāre, irradiāt-, to illuminate : in-, on; see in-2 + radiāre, to shine; see radiate.]
For some reason (I blame sci-fi authors and their vision of future), consumer space is eroding rapidly with touch screens. Consumers will eat up marketing bullshit when it is wrapped in a scifi wrapper, with "Now a touchscreen interface!". This is sadly eroding into things like professional oscilloscopes, and even cockpits!
They're cheap, easily reconfigurable (this is a bug, not a feature) and it makes the bean counters happy - "Oh you mean the $48 BOM can be reduced to $7.50 with one touch screen and 1 UI software contractor for 4 months! And we can market it as a cool thing without users noticing? Holyshit, you're promoted."
That said, iPhone is nice. It is rare exception, I don't know how Steve Jobs saw this, but this is perhaps his genius. iPhone + touchscreen interface totally makes sense. Blackberry folks flaunted their physical keyboards and yet, iPhone won. This frankly surprises me. If it was year 2005, I would have bet on Blackberry over iPhone. Everybody did.
My vision is good, but I imagine diabetics with poor eyesight (which is a common effect of diabetes) basically get unusable devices.
My previous pump and my first meters all had dedicated buttons. A button "on", a button for "give insulin" then two buttons to "crank up or down the amount to give" and so on. All these buttons had braille on them and were tactile and often form-coded. Up, was an triangular up-arrow, etc. I could blindly operate it in my pocket with one hand.
Now my pump requires me to go through dialogs, menu's and workflows for which the state and the options are only on the screen. And my meter looks like a cheap chinese android phone (and has about the same battery time) with only touchscreen interfacing. I often miss my doses because some warning dialog breaks muscle-memory or because -somehow- the pump decides that today we need an extra step in the wizard.
It's good when medical equipment "goes with the time", but touch-screens and color-lcd screens are really not suited for medical devices in their "mass consumer" form.
Regarding the LEGO references, this was just a light hearted look at the problem from a different perspective :).
Often you'll have a client who says "I want my product to be smart and connected so I need a 5 inch touch screen on the front of the box" and its fun to show them an entirely different approach that delivers both a better user experience and also becomes a key differentiator for their brand.
You can see a few (older) things that I've worked on at my employer's website here: https://kiska.com/
I disagree. There are already plenty of articles discussing UX that way. Using Lego is an interesting change of perspective that lets us look at this in a different way.
He basically took an Asian tablet (these existed at the time), made it smaller and added phone capability. Funny thing is that almost nobody uses the phone capability anymore these days.
Too bad mobile phones don't have such requirements, so there you have to guess all the time whether in this week's version of an app you'll have to swipe left/right/up/down for unmarked features, long press or short press, use the three dots or the hamburger? Will tapping this phone number allow to see info or will it immediately start calling the person? Do the icons designed for flat looks rather than distinguishable and informative even tell?
I may still do a series based on the real-world tech that these were modeled after in their time periods. Some of them are super-fun retro.
On a side note, he picked some of my personal favorites from my childhood in the 90s. The 1x2 tile QWERTY keyboard also found its way into more than it's fair share of things I made.
It was tongue-in-cheek, right?
To see a 2x2 of order-chaos and legible-illegible as applied to brands, check out the K-Hole Brand Anxiety Matrix: http://khole.net/issues/03/
Now do a Fitts' Law analysis! :)
Seriously though, your collection is pretty neat. My mind wanders at the thought of putting a synthesiser-generator around the collection of 'fake' panels, such that they end up actually doing something .. if there were a way to use colors as layers, could maybe even use that as a hinter for an automatic signal flow, hmm...